Poland star Robert Lewandowski will return to Poland’s starting eleven after suffering an injury in a pre-Euros friendly against Turkey. Lewandowski, the country’s record goalscorer, sat out Poland’s loss to the Netherlands.

Lewandowski suffered a thigh injury during their friendly against Turkey and had to limp off the field in the 32nd minute of the game. Although sources said that he left as a ‘precautionary measure’, Lewandowski ruptured a muscle in his thigh, which required extensive treatment. The Barcelona star took the bench on Sunday, with his replacement Adam Buska scoring Poland’s only goal of the afternoon.

Lewandowski return proves important on multiple fronts

The return of their most talented striker and arguably their greatest player is great for Poland. Lewandowski will provide an extra bite to an attack that struggled at times against the Dutch. He scored 26 goals in 49 games at Barcelona. The 35-year-old will also provide an important leadership aspect up top. Especially with the loss of Arkadiusz Milik to injury, this attack is very young. Having Lewandowski up top would ensure they stay motivated and remain cool in the late stages of the game.

“He is the best Polish player of all time and regardless of how well others will play because Adam Buksa played a very good match against the Netherlands – he scored a very important goal for us. But, the fact that Robert is on the pitch is changing our overall approach and our opponents’ approach as well,” goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny gushed during Thursday training. “It is natural that his presence can only help us. When it comes to Robert, the more leaders we have on the pitch, the better.

“Having him makes a big difference. Robert’s performance makes a big difference and I know the Austrians won’t be happy he is fit.”

Lewandowski participated in Thursday’s training and spent time in a state-of-the-art cryo-chamber to regain his fitness. Those in the Polish camp are reportedly optimistic about Lewandowski starting against Austria, although it’s undecided whether he’ll play the full 90 minutes.

Poland faces better chances with Lewandowski

Poland’s match with Austria on Friday will be a must-win game for both. Both Poland and Austria lost their opening games, giving them a huge disadvantage for the rest of the group stage. A loss for either of them would put them on the brink of elimination.

The biggest problem for a Lewandowski-less Poland against the Netherlands was a lack of creativity and aggression after they went ahead. Of course, head coach Michał Probierz would be happy with a draw against one of the tournament favorites, but it seemed Poland’s grip on the game slipped entirely as the game progressed. It felt like it was only when – not if – the Netherlands would score and take the lead and the full three points.

Lewandowski’s addition will help Poland as it looks to reinvigorate its once-threatening attack. His link-up play is desirable, as well as his versatility and technical ability. He’ll likely play either up top by himself or in a striking partnership with midfielder Kacper Urbanski. Urbanski, who split time at left wing and central midfield at Bologna, would function as an attacking midfielder, dropping deep to join the midfield and acting as the primary creator.


Euro 2024

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Euro Bracket: Download a free PDF bracket for the tournament
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2024 Soccer Calendar: Get the lowdown on what will be a busy year in soccer